Think of a well-tuned mechanism like a car engine or a clock. It can’t run effectively without lubrication and eventually will seize. The same analogy can be applied to the human body; water is the ideal lubrication to keep it working correctly. So, does drinking water help you lose weight? Understanding what water does for us and how it can be used to achieve good health and effective weight loss is invaluable.
The human body is 60% water and if we don’t drink enough, we become dehydrated. Your body sees this as a threat to its survival and retains fluid as a consequence, causing weight gain and bloating. Caffeine - commonly found in tea, coffee, and Coke, makes the problem worse because they act as diuretics which drives water out of the body and causes yet more dehydration. The same can be applied to alcohol, and this explains the ‘morning after’ feeling and dry mouth when we drink too much. Cutting down on caffeine and alcohol, while upping our intake of water and water-filled foods such as fruit, vegetables and legumes, can help us to regain our natural fluid balance.
Pros and cons:
Dehydration causes fatigue, reduced energy levels and hunger-like feelings. Often, people mistake thirst for hunger pangs and eat, rather than drink. Water is a natural appetite suppressant, so drinking a glass of water when you feel hungry may take care of the problem and keep you hydrated.
Boost your metabolism:
Another reason to drink water is to boost your metabolism. The kidneys filter toxins, but when the body is dehydrated they can’t function efficiently and the liver takes some of the load. As the liver normally metabolises fat, it can’t do this as effectively and this can lead to weight gain. If you drink enough water, your organs work properly and your body will function better, resulting in weight loss.
Halt the salt:
Excess salt or sodium intake can also contribute to dehydration and fluid retention. As salt is added to so many processed foods these days, it’s worth being label-conscious. Eating fresh, unprocessed foods is the best way to avoid salt but if you do buy ready-meals, look for the low-salt varieties.
“But how do I drink enough water?” I hear you ask. Two litres per day may sound like a lot if you picture a large plastic bottle, or a line of water-filled glasses. In reality it’s not. Stretch it over the entire day. Start with a glass of water and if you don’t like it cold, have a cup of hot water with honey and lemon. It makes a good tonic for the liver too. Have a glass of water with each meal. That’s another three. Replace your usual tea or coffee for decaffeinated varieties or drink herbal or fruit teas instead. Before you know it, you will have your quota.
On the go:
If you’re out and about, take a bottle of water and sip from it as you go. Choose water instead of fizzy mixers if you go to the pub. Double up on your fruit, vegetables and legumes and you’ll get even more water. Doesn’t sound so bad, does it? And if you don’t how water tastes, a little sugar-free cordial will sweeten it.
So, does drinking water help you lose weight?
Drinking water has countless health benefits and no one should drink water solely for weight loss. It boosts your metabolism, helps you feel more alert and it encourages your digestive system and bowels to work in harmony. It can offer your skin a healthy glow and make your hair shine. Think of drinking water as part of your beauty regime. Drink water for a healthier body. Drink water for a better life.